Remember before Louisville’s Lamar Jackson was a Heisman frontrunner? Before he was the next dog-friendly Michael Vick? How about his very first college snap?
It was an interception against Auburn — similar to Alabama freshman QB Jalen Hurts’ fumble vs. USC.
“So sometimes you just have to wait and give somebody an opportunity,” ESPN SportsCenter anchor Zubin Mehenti said as a guest speaker at a 1st & 10 Club meeting Monday, after noting the similarities.
“What I think has been a huge factor with Jalen Hurts since he arrived on campus is, just taking advantage of your opportunities,” Mehenti continued, per AL.com. “When he got to campus Jan. 2 and he had the chance to imitate DeShaun Watson, not only did he do a good job of getting Alabama ready — although Watson played pretty well that game — what he did was, he put a bug in the coaches’ ear that ‘I’m here.’
“I’m going to make a couple of bad throws, and some leads are going to get away from me and I’m probably going to make some errant throws, but I’m going to show you some flashes of brilliance.’ And coach Saban has a lot of institutional intellectual memory. He’s not just going to go to spring ball and say ‘everybody starts over.’ He’s going to take that experience from January and use that, and see if he can build on it.”
It took Jackson a full season as a freshman quarterback to blossom into the superstar sophomore he has been through the season’s first three weeks. Hurts has an entire season to catch up, but he’s already drawing comps a year early.
Through his first three — more like two-and-a-half — games, Hurts has thrown for 563 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 197 more yards and two more scores. Jackson hadn’t thrown his fourth touchdown until the fifth game last season — and he had already thrown four picks.